Editors' Choice: "The Distinction Between Thermal Nonequilibrium and Thermal Instability"

© SpringerKlimchuk, J.A., The Distinction Between Thermal Nonequilibrium and Thermal Instability, Sol Phys 294, 173 (2019) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-019-1562-z

Editor's Choice | Open Access

Published: 11 December 2019


For some forms of steady heating, coronal loops are in a state of thermal nonequilibrium and evolve in a manner that includes accelerated cooling, often resulting in the formation of a cold condensation. This is frequently confused with thermal instability, but the two are in fact fundamentally different. We explain the distinction and discuss situations where they may be interconnected. Large-amplitude perturbations, perhaps associated with MHD waves, likely play a role in explaining phenomena that have been attributed to thermal nonequilibrium but also seem to require cross-field communication.

The author: 

James A. Klimchuk is a Research Astrophysicist in the Heliophysics Science Division of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, and an Affiliate Research Professor in the School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences, of George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.

His research mostly concerns the structure, heating, stability, and dynamics of the outer solar atmosphere, including active regions, loops, prominences, flares, and coronal mass ejections.

Solar Physics Editor's Choice:

In each volume of Solar Physics, a few papers are marked as “Editors’ Choice”. The primary criteria is original, high quality research that is of wide interest within the community.